Reynard’s journey to attend college in the US was not a straight line. Originally, he was looking to study in Germany. But with a desire to study graphic design and animation, Reynard found most colleges there wanted someone with a science background.
“I have a language and literature background,” he said. “I love a good story, I love movies, cartoons, and anime. You want to be part of that world and, at same time, have your own stories you want to tell.”
Fortunately for Reynard, attending a college fair at his brother’s school led him to discover the University of South Carolina. And fortunately, as Reynard says, the “US does not discriminate based on your high school major!”
While at the fair, school counselors were talking about a new major, media arts, that encapsulates film, animation, game design, and more. It was late in Spring 2017 when Reynard applied to the University of South Carolina International Accelerator Program — the first and only school on his list.
He was accepted, and today he works as both a solutions consultant at Alpabit Digital Inovasi and is the director and founder of Ploopy Animations.
Attending the University of South Carolina
While the University of South Carolina had the exact major Reynard wanted, he admits it was a tough start. Education requirements, like chemistry, were not his favorite. But he had a plan to make sure he got through them.
“For the first two years — freshman and sophomore — I maxed out my credits, so during junior and senior year I was not freaking out about how to graduate,” he explained. “I was in a great place.”
As a big movie, history, gaming, and cartoons fan, Reynard found the media arts major was a perfect fit for his career ambitions.
“The courses were a lot of fun,” he emphasized, specifically mentioning the advanced cinematography class where he was able to create four projects over the five-month course.
“[For] the last project, you could remaster what you had created earlier in the class or create your own movie,” he said. Reynard opted to create a two-minute short film, complete with dialogue and actors.
But the project that stands out most in his mind — and likely those of his professors — is the work he created for his New Media class.
“The final project was to define ‘what is art?’” he said. “A lot of students ended up making a virtual landscape. I took that another step and made a zombie map for Call of Duty Black Ops 3.” The map Reynard created is still on Steam, a video game digital distribution service, where you can download it and play the game using the map.
During his time at the University of South Carolina, Reynard participated in the Career Accelerator program. “Most people are part of it for the first year,” he says. “I went through it until I graduated.”
He thinks every UofSC student can benefit. “I meet people who graduate who do not know what an elevator [pitch] is,” he continued. “You need to know how to pitch yourself and your ideas. Take the Career Accelerator program.”
Returning Home to Indonesia After Graduation
While it was not Reynard’s intention to move back home after graduation (he had timing issues with his OPT application), he has thrived in not just one but two growth-oriented roles.
His primary job is as an IT consultant. “I am a computer nerd,” he explained, pointing out that if you want to play games with a good setup, you need to know the ins and outs of how it all works. That knowledge, along with some luck of bumping into a family friend, led him to his current role. Reynard’s artistic background has helped the company in areas like branding, in addition to his primary role of helping the sales team sell the company’s product.
On the side, he has also founded an animation studio, Ploopy Animations. “I never thought I would start an animation studio,” he said, noting that his original idea was to construct parking garages. (“They do not have those here!” he said.) You can follow Ploopy Animations on YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
The studio focuses on traditional, frame-by-frame animation. As Reynard explained, 24 images in a sequence is only one second of video. Imagine a two-hour movie and the number of images that it takes. “That is what Disney had to do to win Oscars back in the day,” he explained.
That attention to detail helps Ploopy Animations stand out to its clients in a world where everyone is focused on CGI and motion graphics. Currently, the company has anywhere from six to 10 people working on projects for clients (including major organizations like the Boston Consulting Group), as well as an anime series.
The anime series, which is free to watch on YouTube, is based on a comic Reynard drew. The comic, and now the anime series, centers around his middle and high school years. The plan is for seven chapters, with the final taking place in South Carolina. Reynard plans to work with voice actors and musicians that he knows from the University of South Carolina.
Reynard’s goal within the next five years is to have the company’s work showcased at Film Festival Indonesia. “We want to prove ourselves,” he begins. “In five years, we will have hopefully won at least one award and have another 10 people working here. That is the ideal scenario.”
Reynard’s Advice for International Students in the US
Reynard’s advice to those who want to study in the US is simple: do it, but go to a place where there are not a lot of people from your country.
“If you go to a place where there are a lot of people from your country, you get into a bubble and comfort zone and do not learn as much,” he said.
Studying in a diverse area helped Reynard learn how cultures can coexist. “The US is very diverse. How do you blend together and live in harmony? You have to learn if you want to survive in the world because we do not live alone.”
And, ultimately, if you return home to find a career, Reynard recommends finding a career that suits your skill set. Or, otherwise, “you can always build your own.”
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